The Nurse Instructs a Client Who is Taking Iron Supplements That:
Iron supplements are essential for individuals who have low levels of iron in their bodies. Iron is a mineral that is needed by the body to make hemoglobin, which is the protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. If you have low levels of iron, your body is unable to produce enough hemoglobin, which can lead to anemia. Anemia can cause fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.
If you have been prescribed iron supplements by your healthcare provider, it is important to know how to take them properly to ensure that you get the most benefit from them. In this article, we will discuss how to take iron supplements and some tips to help you avoid common side effects.
How to take Iron Supplements
Here are some tips to help you take iron supplements effectively:
1. Choose the right type of iron supplement
There are two types of iron supplements: ferrous and ferric. Ferrous iron supplements are absorbed better by the body than ferric iron supplements. Therefore, ferrous iron supplements are generally recommended over ferric iron supplements.
2. Take iron supplements with food
Taking iron supplements with food can help reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects. Food can also enhance the absorption of iron. However, avoid taking iron supplements with foods that are high in calcium, as calcium can interfere with the absorption of iron. Examples of foods that are high in calcium include dairy products, spinach, and kale.
3. Do not take iron supplements with tea or coffee
Tea and coffee contain tannins, which bind to iron and prevent its absorption. Therefore, avoid taking iron supplements with tea or coffee.
4. Take iron supplements on an empty stomach
Taking iron supplements on an empty stomach can improve their absorption. However, if you experience stomach upset or other gastrointestinal side effects, taking iron supplements with food may be a better option.
5. Do not take iron supplements with antacids
Antacids can reduce the absorption of iron. Therefore, avoid taking iron supplements with antacids.
6. Do not crush or chew iron tablets
Iron tablets should be swallowed whole. Crushing or chewing them can cause staining of the teeth or mouth.
7. Take iron supplements as directed
Follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider regarding the dosage and frequency of iron supplements. Do not exceed the recommended dose, as this can increase the risk of side effects.
Tips to Avoid Common Side Effects
Here are some tips to help you avoid common side effects of iron supplements:
Iron supplements can cause constipation, especially if you are not drinking enough water. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are high in fiber to help prevent constipation. Examples of high-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Iron supplements can cause nausea, especially if they are taken on an empty stomach. If you experience nausea, try taking iron supplements with food. If this does not help, talk to your healthcare provider about other options.
3. Stomach upset
Iron supplements can cause stomach upset, including cramps, bloating, and diarrhea. To avoid stomach upset, take iron supplements with food or switch to a different form of iron supplement.
4. Staining of teeth
Iron tablets can cause staining of the teeth or mouth. To avoid staining, swallow the tablets whole and avoid crushing or chewing them.
5. Interactions with other medications
Iron supplements can interact with other medications, including antibiotics and antacids. If you are taking other medications, talk to your healthcare provider before starting iron supplements.
In conclusion, iron supplements are essential for individuals who have low levels of iron in their bodies. If you have been prescribed iron supplements, it is important to take them properly to get the most benefit from them and to avoid side effects. Follow the tips discussed in this article to take iron supplements effectively and avoid common side effects. If you have any concerns or questions about iron supplements, talk to your healthcare provider.
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